It’s a situation that happens in thousands of households around the country.
Weary men and women head to bed, set their alarm, check their alarm is loud enough, set backup alarms and inevitably continue to wake up and check the time throughout the night.
The fear of an alarm not working is shared by many and has been labelled as ‘alarm anxiety’; and it’s causing disrupted sleep that is leading to stress, poor health and bad skin.
Speaking to Popsugar, Australian Sleep Coach Elina Winnel said this anxiety relates to ‘the stress of not getting enough sleep before your alarm goes off’ and ‘manifests from knowing the impact that our lack of sleep quality will have on us’.
So how do we become better sleepers?
The fear of an alarm not working is shared by many and has been labelled as ‘alarm anxiety’; and it’s causing disrupted sleep that is leading to stress, poor health and bad skin
How much sleep do you need?
Most adults need between seven and eight hours sleep each day.
Be realistic about your needs. Younger people have different sleep needs. If you are a poor sleeper it is very important you do not spend too long in bed.
Spend no more than eight or so hours in your bed. If you spend more time in bed, you will be telling your body that it’s okay to drift in and out of sleep all night.
Going to bed later at night may be the single best thing to help reduce your wake time during the night in bed.
Source: Sleep Health Foundation
Ms Winnel said ‘good sleepers’ rarely suffer from ‘alarm anxiety’ and suggests hiding the time from sight at nighttime.
‘Either turn it away from you, or have your phone on aeroplane mode and out of easy reach,’ she said, adding that having no concept of the time stops the anxiety altogether.
She also suggested minimising stress and anxiety throughout the day as this minimises the ‘hormones we have in our bodies when we go to sleep at night’.
This ‘gives us a better quality and quantity of sleep’.
To do so, she recommends laughing as much as possible throughout the day to produce serotonin and relaxing before bed by doing slow breathing exercises.
Smiling also helps the mind to relax and shift to ‘happier thoughts’.
For those who turn to medication to improve their sleep, Ms Winnel previously said that there are a number of natural ways to improve sleep that doesn’t involve sleeping pills.
Ms Winnel said ‘good sleepers’ rarely suffer from ‘alarm anxiety’ and suggests hiding the time from sight at nighttime
One of the more unique suggestions she offered was stepping into a ‘feminine’ energy.
‘The daytime is more closely tied to our masculine energy – doing and achieving. It is the time we activate our sympathetic nervous system,’ she explained.
‘At night, in order to sleep, we need to activate our parasympathetic nervous system – which is associated with the feminine (relaxation, simply being, etc).’
She also warned against sleeping ‘curled up’ or in the foetal position.
‘If we go to sleep in this position, we may be signalling to our nervous system that we are in fight or flight, and that it is not safe to go to sleep,’ she said, advising people ‘sleep with an open posture instead’.
What should you do if you can’t get to sleep?
Sleep is not something that you can force to happen.
If you are not asleep within 20 to 30 minutes of going to bed you should get up. Go to another darkened room and sit quietly. Do not have screen time (e.g., television, smartphone, computer) eat, drink or do household chores.
When you feel tired and sleepy again go back to bed.
This helps your mind link bed with sleep – not with being frustrated and not sleeping.
Rest is good – it does not have to be sleep. Don’t label yourself as an insomniac as this will increase your worry and frustration.
Source: Sleep Health Foundation
If you are not asleep within 20 to 30 minutes of going to bed you should get up. Go to another darkened room and sit quietly